Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
American ObscurantismHistory and the Visual in U.S. Literature and Film$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter Lurie

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199797318.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 October 2019

Fargo’s Whitened Spaces

Fargo’s Whitened Spaces

History, Race, and the Postmodern Sublime

Chapter:
(p.89) 3 Fargo’s Whitened Spaces
Source:
American Obscurantism
Author(s):

Peter Lurie

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199797318.003.0004

This chapter reads the Coens’ film Fargo as a typical Gothic narrative, replete with paternal sin, uncanny doubles, and a dark historical past that returns to trouble a violent present. It traces the Gothic’s history in the United States and notes its uniquely American features in describing Fargo’s affinity with writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville, in the latter case by way of the film’s concern with whiteness—both the visual field of the film’s mise-en-scéne and the ethnic whiteness (or historical whitening) of the American interior. It shows a particularly cinematic version of the Gothic due to Fargo’s use of an offscreen, “unlawful” space associated with the film’s criminal element. It posits a postmodern sublime in the film’s tonal and visual ironies and, by way of postmodern theory, in a stubbornly immanent sublimity through affinities between the snowbound scene and the screen’s planar surface.

Keywords:   Gothicism, whiteness, the sublime, postmodernism, Native Americans, the screen/frame, snow, violence, Moby-Dick, François Lyotard

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .